Pet Tricks

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THE BOTTOM LINE: Flimsy when she talks about horoscopes and cute guys. But where the dogs reign, Markoe shines.

TOP 10 REASONS TO READ THIS book: 10. These funny essays were written by the woman who invented Stupid Pet Tricks for the David Letterman show (and won four Emmys) -- a woman who was Letterman's longtime companion and who certainly deserves our support.

% 9. During an election year, how novel to find someone who is intentionally funny (and who also inhales).

8. Readers are taken on tours of pop-culture monuments: the Las Vegas revue Nudes on Ice, for example, with its Act 5, "A Russian Fantasy."

7. Unadventurous types can vicariously attend Markoe's sessions in past-life regression without having to lay down any nonregressed cash.

6. There are no pictures of Merrill naked, although she does describe nudity at beaches in Malibu, Calif., where she lives ("Do you really want to see your mailman with his clothes off?" she asks. "I know I didn't").

5. Men and women who have never been to a men's-movement convention in a large, open meadow can visit Iron Johns in action. "I have to be Mr. Right for me before I can be Mr. Right for someone else," says one.

4.Markoe never brags about famous men she's slept with, although she has lain with several dogs ("4:10 p.m. We all changed sides . . . 5:20 p.m. We all lay on our backs").

3. Finally, a chance to eavesdrop on intimate woman-dog conversations:

Merrill (to Bob the Dog): You have the nerve to discuss my manners? Who drinks out of the toilet and then comes up and kisses me on the face?

Bob: That would be Dave.

2. You will gain an appreciation of the silly from which you may never recover. You may begin to collect windup toys at airports, catalogs of exotic nightwear, and unemployment ads for stun-gun salesmen.

And the No. 1 reason to read this book:

Torrid glimpses into bestiality with swell dogs Bob, Stan and Lewis, the new significant others of the '90s. If you're looking for a committed relationship and a warm, muddy tongue on a cold night, these are your boys. You do have to sleep under the bed, but then all relationships take work.